Highland Reel signs off with second HK Vase win

Ryan Moore and Highland Reel after winning the Hong Kong Vase

Highland Reel has bowed out of racing in the best way possible with victory in the Group One Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

Tosen Basil (JPN), representing Japan, closed to get home third with Hong Kong runner Chemical Charge a surprising fourth and Gold Mount (GB) in fifth.

Melbourne Cup third placegetter Max Dynamite ran a creditable sixth in the race.

"I was always happy and always confident", Moore said. Kiseki (JPN), victor of the Kikuka Sho or Japanese St. Leger (G1), faded from a stretch bid to get home ninth.

This was a second Hong Kong Vase for Highland Reel, who won in 2015 and was only narrowly denied past year, and he ends his career having won more prize-money than any horse trained in Europe, with this success taking his haul to £7.4 million.

The horse, describe by his trainer as "irreplaceable" claimed an incredible seventh Grade 1 success in yet another courageous determined performance as he moved clear of the French-trained Talismanic, who had defeated the Ballydoyle runner in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar last time out, when the Godolphin-owned runner joined Highland Reel 150m from the line. In the Vase, by contrast, Highland Reel never appeared at risk even at the height of Talismanic's challenge.

"When he gets into a fight, the longer it goes on, the more likely it is he will win it".

"He ran really well", Schofield said. "It's very rare that you get a horse that can travel like him".

The son of Galileo was winning the race for the second time after triumphing in 2015 and he retires with a total of 10 wins in 27 starts and over £7.5m in prize money.

"I was in an ideal position all the way, where I wanted to be and close enough to Highland Reel", said Talismanic's rider, Maxime Guyon. I had a flawless run - I followed the victor and came through smoothly. He also won top-level races in England and the United States.

That is some statement from a man who extended his already record Group One tally for the year to 28 but after Highland Reel took his spectacular career bow O'Brien was rapturous in his praise.

"He's irreplaceable for us at home but we were lucky to hold onto him as a five-year-old, we were lucky to get another year out of him".

"He's a very special horse - he's irreplaceable, really. And at 2, 3, 4, 5-he's had winners all the way".

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